Information Security Pay Rates Go Up In Recession

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Security professionals are holding their value in the downturn, according to the Information Security Solutions Salary Survey 2009

The third annual Information Security Solutions Salary Survey 2009 has found the majority of information security professionals’ salaries have increased despite the pressure of recession.

Over half (56 per cent) of more than 600 contract and permanent survey respondents had received a pay increase in the last 12 months. This was in contrast to 38 per cent, who said their salary had remained the same.

For those who had not received a pay rise, the average salary findings suggest remuneration packages were still nothing to be sniffed at.

Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) earned over £50,000, while nearly half (48 per cent) said bonuses had added £10,000 to their basic salary and were as high as £100,000. And the average day rate for contractors was £548, but was as high as £1,150. While the majority (63 per cent) earned between £400 and £650 per day.

Iain Sutherland, founder of specialist recruitment company, Information Security Solutions said the survey indicated the majority of security sector’s professionals were “extremely positive” about their prospects. “Risk and governance, which are key parts of information security, are vital in a recession,” he said.

Sutherland also said the numbers of respondents in senior roles – with team management responsibility and seven or more years of experience – had risen to make up 73 per cent of respondents, suggesting organisations were willing to pay a premium for those with proven experience and skills.

By contrast, “the operational and administrative roles that used to be considered specialist to information security appear to be moving into IT,” he added.

Another broad trend was a shift from the private sector, and financial services firms in particular, paying the highest salaries to the public sector. “There is a great deal of talk about greater stability in government departments, where this is certainly not the case in financial services at the moment,” said Sutherland.

The survey found consultants earned the highest salaries, closely followed by the financial and telecommunications sector, and professionals in local authorities earned about a third less than these sectors.

It is perhaps not surprising then that London – the financial capital – also relinquished the top spot for the highest earners to the South East of England. Scotland and The Midlands followed London in second place.

The survey polled the UK membership of organisations representing information security professionals including: (ISC)², ISACA, British Computer Society (BCS), Business Continuity Institute (BCI), Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST), and MIS Training Institute.